Aviarios del Caribe: Sloth Sanctuary – Cahuita, Costa Rica - Atlas Obscura

Aviarios del Caribe: Sloth Sanctuary

Cahuita, Costa Rica

Sloth rehabilitation center in the jungle of Costa Rica. 


Aviarios del Caribe has some of the cutest residents in all of Costa Rica. They’re so cute that regular visitors shell out $25 for a tour and a constant stream of volunteers is moving in and out of the center’s residences. We’re talking about three-toed sloths.

With a mission of protecting and rehabilitating the sloths of Costa Rica, the Aviarios del Caribe sanctuary observes the animals, studies them, cares for them, and conducts scientific analysis and research on their habitats throughout the country. With education facilities and knowledgeable staff, the sanctuary works to raise awareness about the plight of these creatures.

When Buttercup (seen in the pictures above) was given to the proprietors of a small hotel outside of Limon in 1992, they knew that running a bed and breakfast-style resort wasn’t enough; they wanted to do more. Buttercup was just the first of many, many orphaned sloths that needed help adjusting to life in the wild. Since 1997, the team at the sanctuary had hand-reared more than one hundred orphaned sloths of both types found in Costa Rica and have worked with zoos and other rehabilitation centers.

In 2004, the sanctuary completed a Learning Center for help educate the public about how power lines and loss of habitat are endangering the sloth population. The following year, they build a clinic, kitchen, laundry, nursery, and quarantine center. The sanctuary has been growing—in size and renown—ever since. In the future, the team hopes to work on international veterinary studies, construct new enclosures for the animals, partner with rain forest and wildlife researchers around the world, and grow their sloth adoption program, through which concerned citizens can help to support individual animals from a distance.

Know Before You Go

Located just 35 Kilometers south of Limon and 10 km from Cahuita National Park Cahuita.

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